You have a big job as the labor coach. You are the main person who will:
Whether you are helping the mom breathe or giving her a backrub, you will also be a familiar face on a hectic day. Just being there counts for a lot. Here are some tips for getting prepared.
Go to childbirth classes. Labor coaches should go to childbirth classes with the mom-to-be before her due date. They will help you learn how to comfort and support her when the big day arrives.
Get to know the hospital. Go on tour of the hospital prior to the birth. A tour may be part of the childbirth classes. Talk with the staff on the labor and delivery unit to get an idea of what will happen on the big day.
Know what the mom expects. You and the mom should talk ahead of time about what should happen the day of delivery. Some points you can discuss include:
Natural childbirth is very hard work. A mom may decide on natural childbirth at first, but find that the pain is too much to bear when she is in labor. Talk with her ahead of time about how she wants you to respond at this point.
Write down a plan. A written plan for the labor and delivery will help make things clear ahead of time. Of course, when the contractions are in high gear, many of those decisions may change. That's ok. Give her your full support around how she wants to get through her labor and delivery.
Bring things for yourself to the hospital. You might be there for many hours. Pack a bag with things for yourself like:
Be prepared to wait. Labor and delivery can be a long process. Be patient. You may have to wait a long time for the baby to be born.
Updated by: Melanie N. Smith, MD, PhD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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